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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Banking Follies

I've put in lots of time working in the banking industry. I have worked as a teller and in teller department support positions, including balancing ATMs. I have worked in the Proof department encoding processed items. And of course, I worked and trained in telephone customer service. I have dealt with all sorts of interesting people in all of my facets of banking, but I think that the most entertaining experiences were in telephone banking. 

The way people act on telephone calls as opposed to in person is pretty amazing. A relatively nice and calm person, when on the phone, will sometimes lose their mind. And the ones who are rude and cruel on a usual basis can make your life unbearable for the few minutes you are talking to them. I have had an elderly gentleman tell me that his wife, who died a few months ago, always took care of the banking, and that he is so lonely without her he no longer wants to be alive. Then there was the man who started his call by saying something to the effect of, "Listen, you effing b. I need my documents." That was the nicest part of the call. Unfortunately for us, we were not allowed to hang up on a caller, no matter how abusive they were to us. So I identified the call as malicious and had it taped. His business account was closed by the bank the next day.

I have had conversations with all sorts of people in all sorts of situations. Many times I had someone on the line who had made a mistake on their account and panicked because they thought their significant other would get angry with them. I became adept at talking people through their stress so that they didn't hyperventilate. And there were times when I was able to calm down someone who was out-of-their-mind angry. I even had one caller whose account number was packed with sevens, a number that gave her a mental block. When giving the account number, she said, "My account number is xxx, what's the number after six? xxx the number after six..." And I had a business customer call me on a bank holiday with an unusual request. She had gone to her branch, which was closed. There was a sign on the door reminding customers they could bank twenty-four hours a day via the customer service line. She informed me that she would like to deposit her day's worth of checks and cash received via phone! Strange but true!

A couple of calls that came to my former trainees popped into my memory just recently. "Joe," who had recently finished training class, came to ask me for help. Usually someone who didn't know how to handle a call looked stressed or confused, but he looked like he was trying hard not to laugh. This puzzled me, to say the least. "What's up with your call, then, Joe?" I asked. He started by telling me that it was a real call and that he was not making this up. A lady was on his line and she was offended by our recent advertising in her area. She wanted to inform us that we had put up a billboard that had a picture of Elvis that she found unflattering. If we didn't take down the billboard with the picture that made Elvis look fat (wasn't it his belly that made him look fat?), she was going to close her account. After laughing hysterically, I told him that he could fill out a customer feedback form. I bet the person who ended up reading it got a kick out of their job that day!

One of the all-time best stories came from a manager who worked the four p.m. to midnight shift. Her team would often receive calls that were related to branch issues, but the branches were closed by the time the customer had a chance to contact us. One of our seasoned phone bankers had a lady on the phone who had a problem. "I need you to call the branch and have them tell the man in the ATM that he didn't give me enough money." The banker asked if she realized it was a machine. "Yes, I know it's a machine, I'm not STUPID! Just call the branch and tell them that the guy in the machine didn't give me enough money!" Well, this went on and on and escalated to the manager. She decided not to fight it and simply told the customer that we would call the branch tomorrow and have the man in the machine research his transactions, and let her know when she could expect a credit back in her account. The lady finished the call satisfied that someone had responded to her needs so efficiently.

I don't have anything to top that at this moment, so I guess that is all for this edition of Banking Follies!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

She Almost Killed Me

I blogged recently about how much I hate being sick. I think we can all agree that being sick is no fun whatsoever. I happen to be one of those lucky lottery winners when it comes to getting sick. I often manage to get the really bad stuff. Shortly before I was diagnosed with lupus, I had my first experience with pneumonia. As I have said before, I am grateful that in those days I was completely ignorant about health issues. About all I really knew from experience was feeling good and feeling crappy.

When I experienced my first voyage to the land of pneumonia, I had it in both lungs. There was a hand-sized patch at the top of both lungs that was clear when I looked at my chest x-ray; the rest was all white. To a more seasoned veteran of illness, this would have been a frightening sight. But it didn't really sink in for me that both of my lungs were almost completely unable to breathe as they were full of infection. All I knew was that I felt crappy enough to see the doctor, and that I wasn't using any sick time since my illness politely arrived during my vacation days. 

It ended up, without a doubt, being the sickest I had ever been in my life. This was the first time I had ever had taken such strong antibiotics that I could barely make it to the bathroom before losing control of my bowels. I was weak and struggling to breathe, and in pain. My low moment was when I was lying on my Grammy's bed to watch tv with her and could hear the air rattling in my lungs. I had to keep my mouth open to help myself breathe and could feel the rattling in my chest and hear it coming up my throat. For the first time in my life, I was so sick that getting well seemed like too much work. Never before had I felt that perhaps it would just be easier to die than to struggle through the misery of trying to get better. Knowing this scared me, which was what finally broke me down into a crying mess. Not the pain or feeling awful, but the realization that recovering was just too hard.

Over the next few weeks I began to recover, got sick with something else, began to recover from that, and ended up in the hospital for several days. After a few days of poking and prodding and testing and biopsies, I was diagnosed with lupus and sent home. Since that time, I have fought numerous battles with my long-standing enemy, pneumonia, as well as bronchitis. I used to keep track of how many times I had pneumonia, but frankly, I lost count after about a dozen. I never thought of keeping up with the numbers of the bronchitis bouts. One of the many times I went to Doctor Mike for a pneumonia diagnosis, I felt like I just had to ask him why I spent so much time with these lung-busting ailments. Well, okay, I was in a really cranky mood because I was just tired of always having it.

"Mike, why is it that I always have stinking pneumonia or bronchitis? What's the deal?" Mike told me that I probably had some illness in my lungs when I was young and that now it was my weak spot. His own, he said, was his stomach. He had gotten some terrible stomach bug as a kid and now when he gets really sick, it ends up in his stomach. I politely thanked him for his explanation, but secretly thought he was confused. I had never been that sick! Sure, I had the bouts with various bugs that kept me out of school at least once every school year, but nothing dramatic in my lungs. Doctors!

Several months later, I was visiting my sister Margit in Ohio. We hadn't had contact in several years, but one of the unforeseen side-effects of my illness was that it brought my family back together. As we ran around and bonded over shopping and meals, we caught up with each other's lives. Of course she wanted to know everything about my health issues. After I told her some of the health issues I had been through, I mentioned my conversation with Doctor Mike. "I think what he said is screwy, I was never that sick as a child." Margit got quiet for a second and looked sort of embarrassed. "That isn't exactly true," she said. "I guess I should tell you." 

When I was born, Margit was nine years old, John was seven, and Liz was six days shy of her sixth birthday. I was a breastfed baby. In fact, my mother thought that American women who bottle-fed their babies were lazy and dumb. Margit apparently felt sorry for me because Mama never gave me any food to eat, she was just putting me on her breast. One day when Mama wasn't looking, Margit decided to do something nice for me. She gave me some Cheerios. She liked them a lot and thought I would like them too. My tiny body was not ready to deal with solid foods, so the Cheerios were aspirated and went straight into my lungs, resulting in...yes, pneumonia. They had to put me in the hospital to save my life, and I am sure that Margit's life was in peril for causing me harm, and causing Papa such great expense. Luckily both of us managed to survive our particular parts of the ordeal.

It turned out that Mike was right, as usual, and the mystery of my recurring chest ailments was solved. I did decide at that moment to never give a child under the age of two any Cheerios. If you are wondering, no, I never think ill of my big sister when I have yet another wretched cough. She was just a kind and generous child who wanted to share something with me. She was just trying to be nice when she almost killed me.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Watch This Show

The song That's Entertainment (written in 1952 by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz for the movie The Band Wagon) begins with the line: "Anything that happens in life, can happen in a show." It turns out that they were only about fifty or sixty years ahead of time in making that statement. I guiltily admit to being a fan of some reality television shows, but I am amazed (or is it "bewitched, bothered, and bewildered?) at some of the programs I see advertised. We have come full circle from reality television being the five o'clock news to it being any and every thing we humans do. There are shows that follow the lives of people who do everything from driving trucks to hunting ducks. There are preschool beauty queens, numerous "stars," and even women selling brassieres. People who say humans couldn't possibly have created anything in their history, it had to be aliens. As you may already know, I refer to the people on these shows as guys who can't get girlfriends. Nowadays, if you can't find some sort of tv program that piques your interest, you must not have enough channels. In a combination of smart-aleckyness and an "if you can't beat them, join them" philosophy, I have come up with a few ideas for tv shows that just might be viable for cable tv programming.

The Emperors Knew Clothes! This show could be a joint venture of the fashion and history networks. It would examine the styling whims and escapades of rulers throughout history, and all corners of the globe. Areas of discussion could include the leader's impact on fashion of their era, the impact of these fashions on commerce, the social and economic woes of those who tried to follow the ruling fashion foibles, and perhaps even a segment on what fashion choices they might make if they were alive right now. What would Marie Antoinette wear to a movie premiere? I can almost smell the Project Runway companion show...

Canadian Bakin' Since Canada has both French and British influences in language and custom, this would examine the impact these mixed cultures have on Canadian Cuisine. Just how important is maple syrup to Canadian gastronomy, eh? Is Canadian bacon really Canadian? How have the First Nations influenced Canadian chefs? Is it possible to make a lighter, more croissant-textured scone? And what's with all that snow?!

My Dawg's Bigger Than Your Dawg What really makes an American celebrity        
an obvious success? Is it the size of their talent, or the size of the bodyguards in their entourage that shows us that they have "arrived?" This show would, of course, focus on more than just the entourage. It would examine outrageous homes, automobiles, pets, and clothing and jewelry as signs of dominance and success and compare them to preening displays and mating rituals of various species throughout the world. Naturally, this would lead to discussions of ancient as well as current courtship rituals of humans worldwide.

It isn't my intention to make judgements of anyone regarding what they watch on tv. I will not take a holier-than-thou attitude unless the programming is destructive or promotes hatred or harm, whether physical or emotional/mental of others. Hey, I have my own train-wreck viewing moments. And I suspect that may be what keeps us watching all of these varied shows. Partly because we may be interested in duck hunting, for example, and partly because we are watching someone and thinking, is this really happening? Could this be my next-door neighbor? We never know, do we, until we watch that show?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Oh, No! I AM!

I think that our environment does shape the way we view or perceive others. I don't mean just the environment within our homes, but the greater environment of our neighborhoods and schools. The neighborhood that I lived in for the first seven years of my life, in Chicago, Illinois, has gone all upscale these days. I do believe the term is gentrified. The duplexes on my old street can't be purchased for less than about a million and a half dollars these days. When we rented half of a duplex there on my father's wages as a janitor, it was a true melting-pot neighborhood. I started my life surrounded by people of all colors and nationalities, so seeing different skin tones was second nature to me. When I came to Colorado, my Aunt A had an adoptive daughter with an Hispanic background. It made no difference to me. People are people, plain and simple. It was after I had spent some time living in Colorado that I learned that not everyone felt this way. No, I am not saying that Colorado is full of racists or haters. I don't think we have any more than anyone else has. It is just that moving to Colorado was my first exposure to the stereotypical mostly-white American suburbia. 

In my early adulthood I began selling Avon products part-time while going to college and babysitting the neighbor kids. One of the best things I got out of this job was exposure to other women doing the same job. At our monthly sales meetings, I became acquainted with women of all types of backgrounds, personalities, and experiences. They treated me as a peer even though I was much younger than most of them. One of the loveliest people I met during this time was a dear lady by the name of Louise. She was one of those people who are beautiful on both the inside and the outside. She was a large lady, and acknowledged it freely and with grace. For example, if we had a meeting in our manager's home she would say something like, "You need to get me a sturdier chair than that, honey, I'm too big for that one." I think that Louise's large physique was an outward sign of her huge and generous heart.

I think Louise was of European descent. She had skin that was milky white and beautifully maintained and made-up. Her pale blonde hair was always impeccably coiffed. I never saw her not looking all pulled-together or smelling of just the right amount of perfume. I guess that you could say she was the very picture of a well-kept lady. I never saw or heard of her being unkind to another person or creature. But at the same time, she was down-to-earth and fun to be around, and could crack wise with the best of us.

After Louise and her husband raised their children, they decided to adopt a couple of girls that needed a home. They were treated exactly the same as the children that had been born into the family, and were very well loved. They grew into confident, lovely women, and I am sure they have lived productive and fulfilled lives. One day I happened to be at Louise's home and spent a little time talking with her youngest daughter. I, of course, never thought twice about the fact that Louise's skin was lily white and that her daughter's was more of a coffee-with-light-cream color. We exchanged some small talk and I mentioned how much I adored her mother. It was obvious that her daughter loved her mother deeply. She told me that she appreciated that Louise never treated her any differently that any of her other children. All of the children who grew up in that home were hers, no matter who gave birth to them. They didn't think of her as their adoptive mother. She was simply their mom.

Then she told me a story that reflected the wonderful way she had been raised. Louise was active in her Church, as well as doing things like baking goodies for school fundraisers and such. One day Louise had just a little too much on her agenda and asked her daughter to drop off some things for an upcoming bake sale. She rang the doorbell and was greeted by the woman who lived there. "Hi," she said, "I'm dropping these things off for the bake sale." The lady looked at her, a bit confused. "And who are you?" "Oh! I'm sorry, I'm Louise's daughter. She asked me to drop these off because she's really busy today."

The lady looked at her with her mouth hanging open in surprise. "You're Louise's daughter?'re Mexican!" Louise's daughter took the ball and ran with it. She held her arm out in front of her face and looked at it closely. "Oh no!" she shrieked. "I AM Mexican!" She laughed and turned around and left. She knew that the woman didn't know Louise had adopted daughters. And she knew that the woman was acting a bit...well...stupid. But most importantly, she knew who she was. She was the beloved daughter of a truly special lady.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Where Did It Go?

I think that whoever coined the phrase "the customer is always right" was confused. What qualifies me to challenge the wisdom of someone who probably ended up being a multi-millionaire because of this philosophy? Years of experience with the modern customer. Five years in retail and about twenty in banking have shown me that while the customer can be right, they can also be very wrong. I guess that means they are only human. Or at least something that looks very much like one.

I remember receiving a phone call from a woman who was very distressed about the state of the savings accounts in her children's names. There were two or three accounts, as I recall, and they were accounts that were set up to receive funds for the kids' maintenance. The funds went in monthly and the mother could withdraw them to get food or medicine or whatever was needed. Well, mom was in a panic because the automated phone system had given her the balance on the accounts, and the funds were really low. I mean nearly non-existent. I tried to gently calm her down while I looked at the accounts to see what was happening. Yes, the funds had been automatically deposited into all of the accounts just a few days before. But why wasn't there any money, she wanted to know. She was nearly in a panic. Then the truth came out. "Did you happen to go to Blackhawk last weekend?" Blackhawk, Colorado used to be a mining town. Nowadays people seek their fortunes there at slot machines  and gaming tables.

"Yes, I went to Blackhawk this weekend." I asked her if she had made ATM withdrawals while she was there. Yes, she had. Several times, for two hundred dollars each withdrawal. "Well, ma'am, that's where the money went. It was deposited in all of the accounts, and then you took it out at the ATM." "But where's the money to feed my kids?" By this point, I was feeling two very different emotions. I felt sorry that these kids were going to have a very lean month. And I was angry that their mother blew all of their money on gambling. But I still kept my cool. I once again repeated the withdrawal amounts and times and told her that was where her money was. She must have had the crazy idea that we would give her money back because after admitting to taking the money out, she kept asking why she didn't have any in the accounts. "What am I going to do to feed my kids?" she asked. I had to just quietly tell her that I didn't know what she could do, and remind her again that she got the money out of the accounts and spent it all. That was definitely one of those calls you just had to tell your coworkers about later because it was too awful to be true.

I had another gross encounter with a mother when I was working in retail. I have mentioned before that I worked in a shop in a mall that is so ritzy it refuses to use the word mall. It is a shopping center. Whatever. If all of us worked at a ritzy shopping center we would all realize something that I knew long before I worked there - having money doesn't mean having class. I was generally the poorest person in the shop, meaning of course in comparison to the customers, but I had dignity and good manners.  One memorable Sunday, on Mothers' Day, no less, I had an encounter with one of those wealthy but witless women. She had her baby with her, and was one of those women who, when the baby fussed, asked for the baby's permission to keep shopping. Seriously! We had lots of those in our shop. "Honey, can't you please let Mommy shop for a while?" She was also one of those people who thought my job involved staying by her side all through her shopping trip and taking items off the shelves for her and carrying all of her stuff around. Hah! 

So here I was with a shop crammed full of people and a very demanding woman in front of me. And then the icing on the cake. The baby barfed all over the floor and counter. When I dashed over to get some paper towels to wipe the floor and counter, the woman started yelling at me. "Aren't you going to clean off my shoes? You're down there wiping up the floor and the counter. What about my shoes? Who's going to clean this stuff off of my shoes?" I looked up at her from where I was crouched on the floor. "Ma'am, my priority is the safety of the customers in the shop. Here's some paper towels for you to clean your own shoes." Needless to say, she didn't buy anything from us that day. I never saw her again, which didn't hurt my feelings even a tiny bit!

I worked all of those years in retail and banking because I loved working with people. I really enjoyed helping them with their problems, and being able to explain things in ways that were easy to understand. Luckily for us all, most people are kind and decent and just need a little help now and then. The next time you need to phone your bank or need some help in a little shop, maybe you can brighten someone else's day. They may have just had an encounter with someone that left them feeling a bit bruised. Perhaps after they talk to you they will realize that a few minutes ago they were sitting under a gray cloud, but now it's gone. And they won't need to ask "where did it go?"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Aunt Lizi

It has been almost a year since my Aunt Lizi died. She was my mother's last living sibling. I didn't know her very long, but I feel blessed and fortunate to establish a relationship with one of the few remaining people who knew my mother before she married my father and started to lose her happiness.

The moment we stepped into Lizi's house, after all of the hugging and kissing, of course, we were directed to the kitchen table. Her grandson, my cousin Tom, was acting as interpreter. "You are to sit down and eat. You will not leave the table until all of the food is gone," she instructed him to tell us. So my Uncle János, my cousin Susie and her son Tom, my sister Liz, my friends Marie and Julie and I sat down to a delicious meal. Lizi did not sit down. A good Hungarian hostess thinks only of her guests.

We ate heartily of this wonderful meal. It started with a chicken soup made with very fine noodles, noodles which she had made herself. She made noodles for almost everyone in the village, apparently. There was a lovely green salad with a light, vinegary dressing. Then the gulyás pörkölt or goulash stew, with little dumplings called galuska. This was followed by roasted chicken, which I am pretty sure was walking around her yard earlier that day. The skin of the chicken pieces had been pulled back and covered with dressing, and then put back in place. It was all so delicious! I pulled out one of my few Hungarian words. "Finom!" I said. "It is delicious!" Lizi's face lit up with a huge smile. She kept nudging members of the family and saying the Hungarian equivalent of, "Did you hear that? She said it was finom!"

Toward the end of the meal, my cousin Viki arrived at the house after her day of teaching. She spoke with all of us, but sat slightly away from the table. During this midday dinner, we had talked about walking to the Hungarian/Austrian border to see the way my family had walked out of Hungary in November of 1956. After the plates were removed from the table, Viki went over to the kitchen sink. "Aren't you going to come with us, Viki?" I asked. "No," she answered, "I wash the dishes." I asked if she wanted help, and was firmly told no, that I was a guest. So we went out on our walk.

The village my family is from is absolutely lovely. It is so green and open. The lilac trees (no mere bushes here, the lilac trees were over ten feet tall) were in bloom, as well as many other beautiful flowers. As we walked down the road, we saw the former schoolhouse and an abandoned monastery. It was quiet and peaceful. Soon we were at the border. It is very easy to tell exactly where the border is, even though there are no fences or roadblocks like there were years ago. The road suddenly switches from paved to dirt. Where there is pavement, the road is in Hungary, and where it is dirt, Austria begins.

Lizi walked up to the border, but we could not convince her to step even one foot across. The many years of Soviet rule had ingrained in her that she could not cross a border without her papers. Even more than twenty years after the Soviets were gone, she couldn't make herself step over that free border without feelings of fear. She just couldn't be comfortable crossing into another country without fear of getting into trouble for not having her identifying papers. Liz and I followed her lead and stayed in Hungary. We went to the little church and cemetery, the cemetery where Lizi now rests, and then back to Lizi's home.

After we had visited for a while more, Lizi sort of disappeared into her pantry room. She came out with a platter of sliced ham (yes, we did see pigs in her outbuildings) garnished with shavings of horseradish root, and numerous hardboiled eggs. We had another more casual feast which ended with Lizi's homemade jelly roll filled with apricot jam from her own kitchen. It was simple food and was absolutely delicious. Susie had brought a dish with her as well, one that I loved immediately. It was made with potatoes, onions, paprika, and noodles. Finom!

The next day, as we prepared to leave Hungary to go to Paris, Lizi happily posed for pictures with her family. Tom and Susie took us to the train station where many hugs and kisses were exchanged. Susie was smiling and crying at the same time and saying, "I'm so happy!" When we got on the train, she and Tom stayed on the platform right outside our window until the train departed. I felt very loved, and had met several people from my family. They had let us know that we were thought about often, and that they had tried to find a way to get us back to Hungary when our mother was killed. Just knowing that they wanted us made me feel more complete.

In the time since our trip, I have heard that Lizi liked to tell everyone about her "lost relatives who founded her." I have been able, thanks to the internet and my cousins' abilities to speak three languages, to establish a relationship with Viki and Tom. And scary but true, I was even able to sing Christmas carols to Lizi. Love makes the notes sound sweeter, I hope. I couldn't even bring up the subject of a video chat this last Christmas, though. I worried that it would remind my family of the lovely woman they had lost ten months before. I knew the holiday would be difficult enough without that. But I am sure that the love they have for her kept them strong. And that they ate lots of delicious foods. Or rather, that the food was finom. And I know that they miss her. I certainly do. Szeretlek, Lizi. I love you. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sickness, Suckness!

Trent and I are attempting to climb out of the depths of a dreadful sickness that seems to be running around these parts. Our friend Thayne, who is usually pretty hale and hearty, has also been bitten by this bug, which he refers to as The Madness. I find that name to be pretty apt. Since I find that trying to get some humor out of these situations can speed the recuperative process, I am going to attempt just that, finding some humor in it.

Day One: Cough intermittently, knowing that this is how it started one day earlier for your husband. Feel the little campfire beginning to burn in your chest and realize that your moments of feeling okey-dokey are slipping through your fingers. Know that tomorrow will probably suck. Eat a decent meal while you have the chance. Take some flu medicine and go to bed. Spend the night coughing so much that you get next to no sleep. Get a big disposable glass for your husband since he is coughing till he barfs. You, on the other hand, are only coughing until the campfire in your chest starts to burn superhot and you taste blood.

Day Two: Wake up with your stomach roiling. Decide on today's agenda, which will be sleep, drink, and go to the bathroom. Lay down and start thinking about the origins of phrases that describe illness. Realize that you now know firsthand what many of them mean. Sicker than crap, you decide, is derived from your current symptoms. Since you are suffering from so much coughing and fever, you have no desire to eat. Feel like a genius when your feverish brain puts two and two together and comes up with this connection. Since you can't eat, your body will have nothing to expel. Sicker than crap! You are a genius! Go back to sleep.

Wake up and realize you may have received a prescription in the mail, and that you just don't care. Go back to sleep. Wake up at about ten p.m. feeling pukey. Know that you really need to take your nightly stops-blood-clots-and-therefore-reduces-chances-of heart-attack-or-stroke medicine. Hobble out to the kitchen and tear a bagel in half. Put the halves in bags for you and hubby to try and nibble on. Tear off about one quarter of bagel and eat it in teeny bites, swallow medicine, lay down and hope you won't barf. Try listening to a book to help you sleep. Finish all eight hours of it by morning. While listening to the book, curse the author for being too wordy and not getting to the point. Know that your brain will not permit you to switch to another story until this one is finished. 

Day Three: Start a different book at six a.m. Slip into three hours of sleep. Wake up wondering why you are wet from head to toe, and remember about fevers. Alternate between burning and freezing. Don't forget to cough! Take numerous ten-minute snoozes back to back. When evening arrives, realize you haven't had a meal in two days. Eat something. Sleep. Decide to watch some tv. Realize you can't hold your head up that long. Find that you are too weak and tired to even get mad about that. Go to bed. Sleep for as much as two or three hours at a time despite the coughing.

Day Four: Wake up with a gnawing sensation in your belly. Realize that it is hunger. Manage to eat a whole bagel before falling into another exhausted sleep. Wake up and shower. Actually put on clothes and check the mail. Order Chinese food delivery. Cooking would require a lot of energy and make you too tired to eat. Nibble at the food and realize it will probably last for a few meals. Nap. Get up and write a whiny, complaining blog post about being sick. Hope your readers will forgive you for it. Know that sickness really is suckness.